This panel is ridiculous.
The image comes to us from a tribute issue focusing on New York city which Marvel released shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center and collapse of the twin towers. The profits of the book were donated to aid organizations and to support those brave men and women who scrambled through that wreckage to rescue victims trapped underneath. It was a noble gesture on their part, afterall Marvel is the comics publisher of New York. The city itself plays a huge role in many of the companies biggest titles. Within the Marvel universe New York is featured prominently and its skyline has taken on a unique likeness within the comic book pages. I still remember my very first trip to New York city and being slightly disappointed when I realized there wasn’t really a Baxter Building among the towering sentinels that lined the streets. I didn’t expect to see a giant 4 crowning a skyscraper but the New York city of the comics is written and portrayed with such conviction and familiarity I was convinced it had to be based on a real building.
It was no surprise then that Marvel, like the rest of New York and the country as a whole, took the 9/11 attacks very personally. It was an attack on one of their own, the assault of an old friend, but even so much more than that. The tribute issue they put together was well written and full of some very important, noble sentiments. How the heroes of real life were people who were brave enough to risk their own lives to save others, how super heroes can’t always save the day, and how tragedies like this effect not only the victims and their families but any human observer who has the capacity for compassion. The terrorist attacks that took place on September 11th 2001 were a terrible marker in American history and that day and the lives lost in those tragedies should be observed with the utmost dignity and reverence.
Taking all of that into consideration let me return to this panel, and state again that it is ridiculous. I don’t hold any ill will toward Marvel, I don’t think showing Dr. Doom standing at the edge of ground zero crying is in any way disrespectful. I can see what they were trying to do by having a notorious villain cry at the seemingly random destruction that took place there. What I’m saying is it just doesn’t make any sense. First off during his career in the comics Dr. Doom himself has probably done more property damage to New York city. Second Doom isn’t even a U.S. citizen! In fact he is a tyrannical dictator of a small eastern European country which has, at best, shaky relations with the United States and at worst open hostility. Third Dr. Doom is a callous, cold-hearted dude, who has made back alley deals, committed murder, assassinated leaders, and literally made pacts with the devil to gain the powers he has, it’s safe to say that Dr. Doom only cares about Dr. Doom.
What I’m getting at is that showing Dr. Doom standing and crying at the site of ground zero is just laughable! They might as well have drawn Hitler there too with a tear in his eye. (Dr. Doom has access to a time machine, so that would be plausible within continuity.) Marvel has so many other villains within their universe that they could have used which would have made more sense, villains who actually call New York city their home, like the Kingpin or Doctor Octopus. Dr. Doom though just doesn’t make any sense to me, but what do I know? Perhaps the writing team was stepping out of their normal roles in light of the enormity and consequences of the events and were simply aiming to show iconic Marvel figures reeling from the damage done to our nation and her people.
Just remember this: Despite his tears, Dr. Doom still hates you. Yes, you.
That is all!